Amazon Announces Management Console for Simple Email Service (SES)

Posted in: Cloud Computing

In an email to customers today, Amazon announced a new addition to their web-based Management Console tool – the ability to manage Simple Email Service (SES) resources. Previously customers needed to use an API to manage SES resources.

From the announcement:

Today we’re excited to announce the immediate availability of the Management Console for Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES), AWS’s highly scalable and cost-effective bulk and transactional email-sending service for businesses and developers.

The Amazon SES Management Console is a simple and intuitive web-based user interface for Amazon SES that allows you to do the following with a few clicks of your mouse:

- Check your sending quota and usage
- See your Amazon SES bounce, complaint, and rejection metrics over time
- Verify sender email addresses
- Send both formatted and raw test emails

Of course, all of this is still available via the API as well, so you can choose whichever method works best for you. Please note that you will still need to send your production email to Amazon SES through its APIs. Please see the API Reference for actions and data types.

Additionally, Amazon announced a public webinar to demonstrate the new Management Console features. You can register for the webinar here.

Degraded Amazon EC2 Instance

Posted in: Cloud Computing

I received an email from Amazon today that I have never seen before. Here it is in its entirety:

Hello,

We have noticed that one or more of your instances is running on a host degraded due to hardware failure.

i-XXXXXXXX

The risk of your instances failing is increased at this point. We cannot determine the health of any applications running on the instances. We recommend that you take appropriate action.

If your instance was launched from an EBS-backed AMI, issuing a stop and start from the AWS Management Console will migrate your instance to new hardware and help avoid any unforeseen downtime.

For more options to stop and start your instance please see:

http://docs.amazonwebservices.com/AWSEC2/latest/UserGuide/starting-stopping-instances.html

If your instance was launched from an instance store-backed AMI, you should launch a replacement instance from your most recent AMI and migrate all necessary data to the replacement instance.

Should have you have any additional questions, we offer AWS Basic Support via our Community Forums for free, or Premium Support for one-on-one assistance direct from an AWS Developer Support Engineer at http://aws.amazon.com/support.

Sincerely,

The Amazon EC2 Team

So I dutifully went and followed the instructions and stopped and started (not just rebooted) the specified instance using the EC2 Web Management Console.

PROBLEM: The instance came back up as expected in the Web Management Console, however I could not ping it or SSH to it or connect to it in any way for that matter using my DNS name. I could however connect to it using the Amazon assigned public DNS name. It took me a few minutes to figure it out (all the while my site was down of course), but I eventually noticed that the Elastic IP address assigned to that instance was no longer shown in the instance details view. I went over to the Elastic IP management screen and sure enough that Elastic IP address was shown as not being associated with any instances. I reassigned the Elastic IP address to the instance and a few moments later, everything was back up and running.

CONCLUSION: This scenario is exactly why you need to be using an Elastic Block Storage (EBS) backed EC2 instance for any of your important servers, so in the event that the hardware fails, your actual server image is still safe and can be restored on other hardware. It also proves that while “the cloud” is awesome, it can fail and you need to be prepared for it. Also, one last curious piece about Elastic IP addresses becoming disassociated with instances – not sure if this is related to the hardware failure, or to the stop/start of the instance, but definitely something to keep an eye out for in the future.

Amazon SQS New Features: Delay Queues, Message Timers and Batch APIs

Posted in: Cloud Computing

In an email to customers today, Amazon announced new feature additions to its Simple Queue Service (SQS).

From the email:

We are excited to announce three new Amazon SQS features today: delay queues, message timers, and the ability to send or delete multiple messages in a single API call (batch operations). Delay queues can be used to apply a uniform delay to all messages. Alternatively message timers can be used to apply delay to specific messages that can be sent individually, or in a batch.

New support for batch send and delete operations complements the existing batch receive functionality. With batch operations many workloads will benefit from improved single thread message throughput, reduced connection overhead and lower API call latencies.

As distributed applications become larger and more complex, greater scalability and control of message-based systems becomes increasingly important. With support for both queue delays and message timers, a wider array of real world distributed application scenarios can be addressed. With batch APIs, developing Internet-scale distributed applications is easier and more cost effective than ever.

Dead-Simple Deployment: Headache-Free Java Web Applications in the Cloud (YouTube)

Posted in: Cloud Computing

This is the full presentation I gave at JavaOne 2011 in San Francisco on October 6th, including screencast versions of all demonstrations.

Abstract

The cloud has promised a lot to Java Web developers but has delivered on only some of the hype. Many issues still exist that have the ability to kill many a project. Elastic Beanstalk, a Web service announced by Amazon in early 2011, takes the cloud to the next level for Java Web applications. It aims to eliminate the remaining issues the cloud presents. No hardware purchases? Check! Low setup costs? Check! No software installation? Check! Automatic resource scaling? Check! Resource monitoring? Check! This presentation takes a deep dive into Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk service, including what problems it can help solve and opportunities it provides to deliver better Java Web applications.

Top 10 Strategic Technologies For 2012

Posted in: Cloud Computing

Cloud is a disruptive force and has the potential for broad long-term impact in most industries. While the market remains in its early stages in 2011 and 2012, it will see the full range of large enterprise providers fully engaged in delivering a range of offerings to build cloud environments and deliver cloud services. Oracle, IBM and SAP all have major initiatives to deliver a broader range of cloud services over the next two years. As Microsoft continues to expand its cloud offering, and these traditional enterprise players expand offerings, users will see competition heat up and enterprise-level cloud services increase.

via Biztech2.com India – Top 10 Strategic Technologies For 2012 – News on Enterprise Solutions.

Gartner: Private clouds are a last resort

Posted in: Cloud Computing

Enterprises should consider public cloud services first and turn to private clouds only if the public cloud fails to meet their needs.

That was the advice delivered by analyst Daryl Plummer during Gartner’s IT Symposium Tuesday. Plummer says that there are many potential benefits to deploying cloud services, including agility, reduced cost, reduced complexity, increased focus, increased innovation and being able to leverage the knowledge and skills of people outside the company.

via Gartner: Private clouds are a last resort.

Screencast: Amazon Elastic Beanstalk Eclipse Plugin – Deploying Your Application Directly to Elastic Beanstalk

Posted in: Cloud Computing

This screencast shows how the Amazon Elastic Beanstalk plugin for Eclipse allows developers to directly deploy their Java Web Applications from within Eclipse to their Elastic Beanstalk account. The plugin allows developers to create brand new applications and configure the Elastic Beanstalk resources as part of the process.

Screencast: Amazon Elastic Beanstalk Eclipse Plugin – Testing Locally

Posted in: Cloud Computing

This screencast shows how the Amazon Elastic Beanstalk plugin for Eclipse allows developers to write Java Web Applications and test them on local instances of Apache Tomcat, just as they would when writing any traditional Java Web Application.

Screencast: Amazon Elastic Beanstalk Eclipse Plugin – Creating Your First Application

Posted in: Cloud Computing

This screencast shows how to install the Amazon Elastic Beanstalk plugin into your Eclipse environment and how to create your first Elastic Beanstalk application.

Screencast: Amazon Elastic Beanstalk – Launching a new Application from the Web Console

Posted in: Cloud Computing

This screencast details the steps necessary to upload and launch your own Java Web Application on Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk service.